The fine structure of leucoplasts in root tip cells of Phaseolus vulgaris L. has been studied in material fixed in glutaraldehyde followed by osmium tetroxide and poststained in uranyl acetate and lead citrate. Plastid development has been followed from the young stages in and near the meristematic region, through an ameboid stage, to the larger forms with more abundant storage products in the outermost cells. The plastids contain a dense stroma penetrated by tubules and cisternae arising from the inner membrane of the plastid envelope. Also located in the stroma are lamellae, ribosome-like particles, phytoferritin granules, and fine fibrils in less dense regions. In some elongate plastids microfilaments run lengthwise in the stroma near the surface. The same plastids store both starch and protein, but in a strikingly different manner. The starch is deposited in the stroma, while the protein always is accumulated within membrane-bounded sacs. These sacs arise as outgrowths from a complex of interconnected tubules which in turn appears to originate by coalescence and proliferation of tubules and cisternae arising from the inner plastid membrane. This "tubular complex" bears a strong resemblance to the prolamellar body of etiolated chloroplasts, but is smaller and ordinarily less regularly organized, and is apparently light-insensitive. Crystallization of the protein commonly occurs in the sacs and occasionally takes place within the tubules of the complex as well. The fine structure of the leucoplasts is discussed in relation to that of etiolated chloroplasts. Suggestions are made concerning the function of the tubular complex, role of the ameboid plastid forms, and manner of accumulation of the storage protein in the plastids.

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